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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDER VOX HTIMBOU>T.                211
<eycadaceous and palm-like formations flourish; then
follow the tree ferns, shaded by the high valley walls;
and then come the cinchonias, in luxurious strength,
being constantly watered and refreshed by the cool
cloud-mist; they give the long mis-appreciated, now
•so useful Peruvian bark. Where the high tree-forma-
tion ceases, there azalias, thibaudias, and myrtle-
leaved andronaedas grow in close groups. The Alpine
rose of the Cordilleras, the resinous befaria, forms a
purple belt above them, Then, in the region of storms,
the higher bushes and large-leaved plants disappear
-entirely, and panicled monocotyiedoss uniformly
•cover the ground, forming an immense field, shining
•with its yellow light. Here the camel-goat, and the
cattle introduced by Europeans, graze in solitude.
Where the naked rocks of trachyte project from the
grassy plain, there, in the absence of clayey soil, only
plants of the lowest organization can grow, such as
the host of lichens, which the rarefied atmosphere
sparely nourishes, parmelias, lecideas, and the many-
coloured perisperm of the Leprarias. Islands of newly
fallen snow hide the last developments of" vegetable
life, to where the boundary of eternal snow is sharply
defined. The subterranean forces endeavour, but
generally in vain, to break through the white, pro-
bably hollow, bell-shaped summits. Wherever they
have succeeded in coming in contact with the atmo-
sphere by round kettle-shaped, craters, or long, narrow
chasms, they scarcely ever eject lava, but only oxygen,
sulphurous vapour, or hot water vapour.
....."When I indulge in personal recollections of
.great natural scenery, I think of the ocean5 when in
the mildness of tropical nights the firmament pours its
planetary mild starlight over the gently undulating
surface; or of the wooded valleys of the Cordilleras,
where high palm stems break through the dark roof
of foliage, and stand as a gallery of pillars—a forest
above a forest; or of the peak of Teneriffe, when
horizontally floating clouds separate the top from the
lower earth., and, suddenly torn by a rising- current of